Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 20, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     11/24/15

In this edition:

*Happy Thanksgiving!
*Neuzil To Kalamazoo
*Refugees and The Christmas Story
*Did You Know?

*Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving to all Salvos readers! I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday!

         I love Thanksgiving! It truly is one of my top couple holidays! That is likely in large part due to the fact that I have many things for which I am thankful. Family, friends, health, relative wealth… I am a pretty lucky guy!

One thing that I do not acknowledge enough, however, is the Salvos audience! I really appreciate the fact that you take the time to hear what I have to say. It is humbling, and I truly am honored to have this soapbox.

         So thanks for reading, and have a great holiday!

*Neuzil To Kalamazoo
         Johnson County Supervisor Terrence Neuzil recently took a job as the County Administrator in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. The Kalamazoo County Board voted 7-2 to hire Terrence over an internal candidate. The job was advertised at $130-150k annually. Terrence will be leaving Johnson County December 20, and starting in Kalamazoo on December 21.

         Kalamazoo County is located in southwestern Michigan, and is home to 259,000 residents. The City of Kalamazoo is the County Seat, and Western Michigan University is the largest employer.

         Terrence was first elected in 2000, and took office January 2, 2001, tying him with Pat Harney as the most senior Board Member. I have served with Terrence the whole 11 years I have been in office.

         During that 11 years, Terrence and I have had strong agreements, strong disagreements, and everything in between. We definitely have accomplished some things of which I am very proud! The bottom line is that he is extremely competent, and should serve Kalamazoo County very well. I certainly wish him all the best!

         As for what happens next? The Auditor, Recorder, and Treasurer meet to choose one of two options: schedule a special election or appoint a replacement. This group has done a bit of each over the years. When Lorada Cilek died in office, her son Mike was appointed to finish out her term. After Joe Bolkcom left for the State Senate, Carol Thompson was appointed. After Larry Meyers died in office, Janelle Rettig was appointed. After Sally Stutsman left for the State Legislature, a special election was called.

         I have no idea what they will choose, nor do I care. These three elected officials are put in a very difficult position. If they choose an election, they are wasting tax dollars on an unnecessary election. If they choose to appoint, they are playing favorites or rewarding political buddies. In other words, they cannot win.

         If there is one deciding factor, it may be history. State law says that if the group appoints a replacement, the public may still petition for a special election. That happened in both of the most recent appointments. Given that fact, an election may make sense. Plus the time frame for the unexpired term is a whole year, not simply a couple months.

         So, stay tuned. If the group does call for an election, both parties will need to call County Conventions to select their nominees. Numerous individuals have already expressed their interest. Add to the fact that this will likely be happening as we ready for the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, and we have our typical Johnson County political craziness!

*Refugees and The Christmas Story
         Thanksgiving is (unfortunately, in many cases) the kickoff to the Christmas Holiday. People will be shopping until they drop. But how does that relate to the actual origins of Christmas? And how does it relate to the news in our world today? I understand that not everyone who reads Salvos is a Christian. But if you are, you need to give this some thought.

Most readers are going to be familiar with “The Christmas Story”. Just in case you are not, I will give a quick synopsis:

         Due to events beyond their control, a group of people are forced to leave their homes. (In this case, to be counted in a census.) They travel to a different place, where the people turn their backs. No one will accept these refugees, so they are forced to take shelter in a manger, among the animals.

         You may recall the rest of the story – a woman gives birth to Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings. Yes - Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were Middle Eastern refugees.

         Young Jesus grows up, and tells several stories illustrating the Commandment – one of the two Greatest Commandments - that we love our neighbors as ourselves. The Parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind.

         Even before the Christmas Story, there were many Biblical stories encouraging us to care for refugees: Deuteronomy 10:18-19 fits the present case: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” Substitute the USA for Egypt, and we have something!

This story is one of two fundamental underpinnings of the whole Christian religion. This is what it is all about, folks. Taking in refugees. You may have a litany of reasons for refusing to help refugees. But Christianity is not among them! Refusing refugees is the very antithesis of the Christmas Story!

*DID YOU KNOW?  When Abe Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, it was thanks to the tireless efforts of a magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale. Her other claim to fame? She also wrote the nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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